If I had to be completely honest (and I will be here), I'd say that the last time I bought an industrial album was about 4 years ago or more. For some reason, the genre sort of wore itself out on me and I after listening to different things, it seemed like it just wasn't going anywhere. A lot of the groups had the bang-clang beat going with scary-sounding pissed-off vocals and it just slammed in my face until I couldn't take it anymore.
As it turns out, right about that same time, a whole sub-genre of industrial music was sharding off known as "EBM" (electro body music). Favoring different techniques and less of the standard guitar riff crunch, groups were doing different things with the music, but I just didn't happen to hear it going on. Recently, a friend played me some of his VNV Nation (the VNV stands for 'Victory Not Vengence') and I was instantly hooked. Here was a group that technically fell into the "industrial" genre, but they were doing different things with it. In fact, the first thing I said upon hearing it was that it sounded like hard trance music with New Order vocals over the top. In fact, that description isn't completely accurate, as there are bits of Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, and even a hint of Depeche Mode in the VNV Nation. While they still favor harsh beats, they've dropped the whole chunky guitar thing in favor of background music that could easily fuel a dancefloor until the wee hours.
Lyrically, Praise The Fallen is sort of a concept album taking place in the year 2012, looking back at the crumbled societies of the world. It acts as sort of a motivational document to unite people after all the problems and rise back up as one nation (hence the title). While the group does know how to kick out some sweet beats and excellent lyrics, they also know the meaning of restraint. The album leads into things slowly on the opening track "Chosen," with spoken word vocals over drifting, ambient sounds. The album ramps up slowly in terms of speed until taking off with the dark trance sounds of "Procession."
Even after that, the group calms things down for awhile with another, drifting ambient instrumental track in "Voice" before launching into the dancefloor-ready "Forsaken." As another instrumental, it has another orchestral-sounding backdrop mixed with trancey sounds while a stomping beat is layed down over it all. It's then that the album drops two of the best songs on the album. Although both "Honour" and "Solitary" (which sounds eerily like Joy Division set to trance music) start out with sort of a dreamy chime sound intros, they both drop hands-down and kick into full gear soon afterwards and have lyrics that will have you singing along.
In the end, whether you like the album or not will still depend on your stomaching of EBM music. While the vocals are processed at some points, many of the time they're very clear and nice, which provides an interesting juxtaposition to the hard-edged beats and uplifting music, which is pretty solid. For me, it was a nice re-introduction to the music I used to listen to so much of with a slightly different feel. Progression is good.